It has been a while since I have written a journal entry. As most could imagine, I have been very busy the last couple of months. Jeff and I have been doing a lot of traveling for work, pleasure, and for appointments for Carrigan. The due date is quickly approaching and I feel we are running ourselves ragged trying to make sure everything is done in time. The nursery is finished and Carrigan has enough clothes to last the first 9 months, but it feels like there is so much more to do. I don’t know if it is just the anxiety of waiting or the reality that I’m getting ready to spend the rest of my life worrying about this little life that we have worked so hard bring into this world. I have been more emotional in the last few months than I have been my entire life. My mother often told me growing up that I had no idea what life was really like until I had a child of my own. That comment is making so much sense now. I thank my mom for teaching me how to deal with everything life throws at you.
Many factors have sparked a lot of my emotions. I recently found out that one of the most special people in my life has only been given a short time to live. My Pa is that person. For those of you who do not know, let me describe a little bit about my grandparents. My Ma and Pa are like angels on earth. They are very simple, mountain people, with the biggest hearts you could imagine. They live in Hendersonville, North Carolina in a small one bedroom house that I have always considered HOME. Home, they say, is where the heart is. Well, the home of Ma and Pa is where my heart has been since I was born. I moved around a lot with my parents growing up since my dad was in the military. Because of that, I have always felt that the only stable place in my life was Ma and Pa’s house. From time to time I have stayed with them. At one point in my life we even lived down the hill from them. I was 3 or 4 years old when we lived next door. My Pa used to come outside every day and call for me. He would yell “Dooley, come on up here”. Tom Dooley is my nickname that my Pa gave me. I wore a trail in the hillside from those daily hikes. I was always spoiled by them and made to feel extra special. You see, my Ma and Pa have never judged me. They have always accepted me for who I am and have never tried to change me. They are the people who taught me the meaning of unconditional love. They are the ones who always encouraged me to be myself and to always treat others with respect. They have the most wonderful spirit and I want desperately for my little Carrigan to have an opportunity to be a part of their lives. I know that time marches on and everyone has a destiny that can not be changed, but I find it very unfair to deny the most precious people in my life the opportunity to help mold my child into a stable, loving, and caring person. I can only hope that I can do half the job that they have done with me. The joy and happiness of having this little girl will no doubt overshadow my fears and sadness, but the depression of seeing my Pa slip away is weighing on me like a ton of bricks.
I constantly worry about my dad and how he will cope with the loss of the anchor in his life. My dad is a very imposing man with deep emotions. He often tries to hide his feelings to make everyone else think he is OK. I know better. I am his son and often suppress my emotions in the same way. I am lucky he has someone special in his life to share his concerns with. I am glad that Jenny is there to let me know how he is doing. Dad has been married to Jenny for many years. They have created a good life together. I also thank Jenny for being so supportive of me and helping Dad to understand and accept me. Dad has turned a new leaf in his life awaiting the arrival of his grand-daughter. His excitement and enthusiasm for this little girl is a joy to see. He has already built Carrigan a cradle and is in the process of helping Jeff and I build a log cabin up the hill from his home. He can’t wait to be a part of Carrigan’s life and to show her the love that only a grand-daddy can. We are glad that we are blessed with the opportunity to build this home on family property so we can relive some of my childhood through our daughter’s eyes. My dad so desperately needs this joy to help overcome his pains.
There is constant concern on my mind about my mother dealing with the failing health of my Grandpap and Morris. Mom is such a caregiver and wants to be sure everyone is taken care of. She moved to the mountains to help care for my Grandpap after spending many years grieving over the death of my Mammaw. I think she constantly deals with the thought of waking up one day and feeling “alone”. She too has been very positive about welcoming a new grand-daughter into her life. She always feared that she would never have the opportunity to have a grand-child from me. She is overwhelmed with excitement knowing that the day is very near. I wish my mom lived closer so she could watch Carrigan grow from day to day.
I have worries about Jeff and his mom and dad. His parents are 86 and 87. Both of his parents are having health issues. They are very loving and supportive people just like my Ma and Pa. They have been wonderful to me and have allowed me to be a part of their close-knit family. We feel as if we are in a race against time to get Carrigan in the world and in the arms of all the people we love so dear. We want her to be able to know and see all of the people who have been such a major influence in our lives. It just doesn’t seem fair that we have had to wait so long to bring this child into the world. If society were not so harsh and divided and ignorant to the fact that we can be just as good, if not better parents than most, we would have had a child long ago. I can only apologize to those who have waited so long that they may not have the chance to share in our joy. Most would say at this point “life is not fair”, I disagree: “people are not fair”!
My emotions run strong because of there being so many people in the world filled with hate and negativity. My “mother” instincts are engaged and I am frustrated with all the stupidity. I get so angry hearing all the bigoted people on television say that gay people are not fit to be parents and that we do not deserve any rights. They are constantly trying to take away any rights we have and make us feel like second class citizens, if citizens at all. I wish for one day that those people could walk a mile in my shoes. I wish they had to grow up with the negative comments and discrimination that I have had to endure. I wish that they had to see what it was like to be born in a certain way and have society try to change you. For those of you who may wonder, I am a very spiritual person. I have strong morals and beliefs and I know right from wrong. People who want to make an assumption that I am not fit to be a parent without even meeting me, are completely out of place. Not only am I fit to be a parent, I will be a great one. My child will grow up in a very loving, stable and supportive home. She will learn to accept everyone for who they are and not to judge. She will know love, acceptance, support and happiness. She will learn about religion, and not just one, all religions. It is important for her to make her own choice in life when she is old enough and choose the path that best suites her desires. I will not force her to believe in something or be someone she does not want. I want my daughter to be happy, enjoy laughing, learning and playing. I want her to know her family and feel the love that I have been so lucky to receive. I want her to be healthy and smart and to dream big and reach her goals. I want her to always be safe and guided by the angels that I know will always look down on her. Are my dreams any different than those who say I am not fit to be a parent? Do their children suffer because of their closed minded ignorance? My child will not suffer for that reason!
I worry about Stefanie (our surrogate) and that she will remain healthy and will continue to keep Carrigan growing and on the right path to a healthy birth. I hope she knows how much Jeff and I appreciate and love her for what she is doing for us. I hope she knows that she is an angel and is bringing us the most amazing joy and that her act of giving is the most amazing gift.
Jeff and I had the opportunity to spend this past weekend in Los Angeles with the Growing Generations crew and other expecting parents. But best of all, we were able to spend time with Stefanie and to feel our little girl moving around in her belly. That precious little girl of ours was literally inches away from us all weekend. I wish I could only feel what Stefanie does each day as Carrigan grows, kicks, and pushes her way around awaiting her arrival. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to have a child of our own. I am so lucky to be in a relationship with a person with whom I can share this most spectacular time. You see, when it all boils down, I am very lucky. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, loving and accepting families, a precious little dog, a great career, an abundance of friends, and the most amazing little daughter on the way. Isn’t that the American Dream?